The Best Film Festivals in Atlantic Canada
Let’s provide a high-level overview of some of the best film festivals in Atlantic Canada. Of course, there are other good film festivals in the region and this list isn’t comprehensive; however, the below festivals are certainly among the most notable in Atlantic Canada.
We’ll discuss (in no particular order):
- FIN Atlantic International Film Festival
- Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival
- St John's International Women's Film Festival
- Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie
- Silver Wave Film Festival
- Charlottetown Film Festival
- Devour! The Food Film Fest
- Emerging Lens Film Festival
- Atlantic Jewish Film Festival
FIN Atlantic International Film Festival
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Probably the biggest, most well known film festival in Atlantic Canada is FIN Atlantic International Film Festival (note: “FIN” is not an acronym, apparently; it's just a name). The festival is held annually in Halifax and was founded in 1980.
FIN is focused on supporting cinema in Atlantic Canada by offering a first look at the best international films of the season and by showcasing excellence in local filmmaking.
Awards conferred at FIN include The Gordon Parsons Award for Best Atlantic Feature, Best Atlantic Documentary, Best Atlantic Short and Best Atlantic Director.
The 2020 Atlantic Film Festival took place entirely online through FIN AIFF Stream.
Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival | best film festivals Nova Scotia
The Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival (HIFF) screens the Atlantic region's most innovative works alongside the films of acclaimed visiting artists. HIFF is a “filmmaker’s festival” in the sense that it focuses on the directors of these works and connects them with audiences through hosted Q+As, artist talks and workshops.
HIFF has feature and shorts screenings, receptions, celluloid installations and even one-on-one meetings with local filmmakers and guest programmers from Canadian and international festivals.
The 2020 HIFF took place online due to COVID-19 restrictions.
St John's International Women's Film Festival | best film festivals Newfoundland
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St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival (SJIWFF) is one of the longest-running women’s film festivals in the world. Established in 1989 with the vision of supporting and promoting women’s creative work in screen-based industries locally and internationally, SJIWFF has grown to become, arguably, Newfoundland’s flagship film festival.
SJIWFF screens documentaries, short films and features written and/or directed by women (self-identified). It features films by local Newfoundland & Labrador talent, as well as Canadian and international artists.
Awards conferred by SJIWFF include the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award, the DGC Visionary Award and the Boundary Pusher Award. SJIWFF went online for their 2020 festival.
Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie | best film festivals NB
The Festival international du cinéma francophone en Acadie (FICFA) is a francophone international film festival held annually in Moncton.
Founded in 1987, FICFA has grown to become the largest film festival in New Brunswick and one of the largest francophone film festivals in North America.
Awards conferred at the festival are named Prix La Vague and include Best International Feature, Best Canadian Feature, Best Documentary and Best Acadian Feature.
Silver Wave Film Festival | best film festivals New Brunswick
This festival is the brainchild of the board and staff at the New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-operative. Silver Wave is held annually in Fredericton and was founded in 2001. The festival programs a lineup of Canadian and international films, with a special but not exclusive focus on films made within the province of New Brunswick.
The Silver Wave Awards conferred at the festival include the Viewer’s Choice Award, Best Student Short Film, Excellence in Art Direction, Best Genre Short and the Jane LeBlanc Filmmaker Award.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 festival was staged entirely online.
Charlottetown Film Festival | best film festivals PEI
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“The little film festival of big dreams,” the Charlottetown Film Festival (ChFF), was founded in 2015 and is devoted to showcasing the works of emerging Atlantic Canadian filmmakers – with a special focus on PEI screen artists.
The festival screens feature films, documentaries, short dramas, comedies, animation and music videos. ChFF also offers industry sessions to connect with producers, filmmakers, writers and others in the film industry – both in-person and virtually.
The 2020 ChFF proceeded both online AND in-person at a movie theater (City Cinema), but with limited seating due to health protocols.
Devour! The Food Film Fest | best wine film festivals
Devour! The Food Film Fest is a unique niche film festival that is dedicated to films about food and wine. This five-day festival takes place annually in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The festival was founded in 2009 by Slow Food Nova Scotia.
Devour! challenges people to think differently and create a deeper connection to food and wine through documentaries, dramas and short films. This festival confers the Golden Tine Awards in various categories, including Best Short Drama, Best Short Doc, Best Animation and Best Feature Doc.
The 10th anniversary of Devour! took place in October 2020 in a hybrid online and in-person format.
Emerging Lens Film Festival | best film festivals NS
The Charles Taylor Theatre and Media Arts Association founded Emerging Lens in 2010.
This festival confers a variety of awards, including the Audience Choice Award, Best Documentary, Best Short Film and Best Music Video.
The purpose of this festival is to educate, empower and inspire by honouring the influence of African Canadian and other cultural filmmakers and to bring recognition to their work.
Atlantic Jewish Film Festival (AJFF)
The Atlantic Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) provides an opportunity for the public to experience the Jewish world through film in Halifax. The films screened each year tend to be documentaries, comedies and dramas.
The AJFF is presented by the Atlantic Jewish Council.
Due to COVID-19, the 2020 AJFF took place online.
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